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Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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Category Archives: Documentary

Help make the next documentary!

The documentary “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream” aired on PBS in 2005, reaching over a million Americans in the week it debuted. The film won the “Audience Award” as the top documentary on the PBS Series “Independent Lens.”  Your support can make the sequel documentary possible.

Joanne Caputo’s film shared two compelling stories: First, it shared the story of how one man navigated the complex integration of disability, ethnicity, ambition, and family life. The film covered my journey from birth with muscular dystrophy, through high school, college, married life, fatherhood and the pursuit of my career ambitions as a disability leader and broadcaster. Secondly, it covered the rich culture of America’s disability community as it celebrated the 10-year Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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The young, energetic subject of that film, who traveled solo, is now 51 years old. My young children you saw are now grown. I have gradualy lost abilities once taken for granted, such as sitting upright in my wheelchair without support, transfering in and out of my chair and using the bathroom independently.

Muscular dystrophy and aging have taken a severe toll on my physicial abilities. But I still drive my van, travel frequently to speaking engagements and host my weekly podcast.

“On A Roll Again” will focus on the complex challenges one man faces as he ages with a severe disability. Who will provide his needed personal assistant care? The parents we met in the first film are now in their mid 70′s. Where will he live?

“On A Roll Again” will also focus on the status of life with a disability as we approach 2020, the 30 year Anniversary of ADA. How has American’s attitude about people with disabilities shifted? How have developments in technology and medical care impacted disability lifestyles?

This is a film that must be made. We need your donation to raise the funds to make it possible. Thanks for watching “On A Roll” and I look forward to seeing your name in the credits and inviting you to the screening party of the new film.

Thanks for making a contribution!

Screening of PBS Documentary “On A Roll: Family, Disability & the American Dream” Starts Now!

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PBS site for documentary On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream: www.PBS.org/onaroll

Watch online now at www.onarollmovie.com

We’ve come a long way since 1990. We’ve also come a long way since 2000. That year, the disability community, led by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) planned a 24-city, cross-country relay that celebrated the 10-year anniversary of ADA.

That relay and the events of July 26, 2000 are a major part of the award winning PBS documentary film, “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream.”  It is a nostalgic look back at the disability community’s biggest celebration to date.

The film was made by Joanne Caputo, who learned of my work as host of “On A Roll Radio” as a result of the friendship our young sons developed in Yellow Springs, OH. It started with her bringing her camcorder to our house.

From now, throughout the month of July, “On A Roll” is available free at www.onarollmovie.com. Please enjoy and spread the word about it. When it aired on PBS, 1.2 million people saw the initial broadcast. Hopefully, we can reach as many people this month as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.

Star Studded Cast!

Here are most of the people with cameos in the film, in order of appearance:

Berkeley Smith
Donovan Smith
Greg A. Smith, Jr.
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Mike Ervin
Christopher Reeve
Dr. JR Harding
Becky Ogle
Judy Heumann
Bob Kafka
Jim Smith
Adelia Smith
Jackie Cammon
Tonya Tetteh
Wesley Gaffney
Kevin Gaffney
Eric Gaffney
Todd Richardson
“Duke”
Ron Pope
Jane Criddell
Ron Pope
Jeannie Morris
Angie Jacobs
Michelle Carston
Dr. Mitch Tepper
Terri Nealy
Eleanor Smith
Dominique Wilkins
Masha Malikina
Bobby Coward
Juliette Rizzo
Andy Imparato
Justin Dart
Ann Marie Hughey
Kyle Glozier
Senator Tom Harkin
Vice President Al Gore
Paul Spooner
Ted Kennedy Jr.
Senator Edward Kennedy
President Bill Clinton
Yoshiko Dart
Hillary Clinton
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Steve Drosdow
Joyce Preston Scott
Gilda Dennis
Kate Adamson

Get your popcorn ready! I hope you enjoy one of the greatest disability documentaries ever made.

Guest Profile: Andy Imparato, Executive Director of Association of University Centers on Disability

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Spread the word!

Andy Imparato will be on Greg Smith’s Podcast next week!

Next week on Timeout with The Strength Coach, the topic is depression and mental health.  Greg reached out to an old friend who is good at telling his personal story, Andy Imparato, who is now the Executive Director of the AUCD.  In the interview, Andy talks about the onset of his disability, how he decided to come “out” with it and gives advice to people who might have symptoms of depression and bipolar tendencies.

The show will be available on Monday morning at midnight, 12:00 am Eastern Time.  In the meantime, enjoy these bonus segments featuring Andy discussing his new role at the AUCD.

Please spread the word about the podcast… “Timeout with the Strength Coach.”

You can subscribe on iTunes.  Just search for Greg Smith or the name of the show and click “subscribe.”  You can also listen online at webtalkradio.net.

 

More about “On A Roll”

I can’t believe it has been 10 years since the “On A Roll” documentary.  I’m so excited that the film is coming back to the Web throughout the month of July.  Over a million people in the US saw it, but now millions more around the world will have the opportunity.

Here’s what they were saying a decade ago:

From ITVS Web Site

(San Francisco, CA) — Two million Americans use wheelchairs. 54 million Americans have a disability. From his state-of-the art radio studio in his parents’ Mississippi house, Greg Smith—“the wheelchair dude with attitude”—uses his popular nationally syndicated radio program to offer advice, encouragement and inspiration to not only the huge number of disabled Americans but all Americans. His upbeat, tough, and often humor-filled message closes the gap between the abled and disabled by stressing that we all need help from each other, everyday. Directed by Joanne Caputo, ON A ROLL will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series Independent Lens on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 at 10 P.M. (check local listings) in conjunction with Black History Month.

Greg Smith sounds like a normal dad as he talks to his daughter on his cell phone and calls her “sweetie pie,” but interviews with his three kids prove opposite: “He needs help using the bathroom and getting in bed. He can’t play baseball that good.” Yet daughter Berkeley also knows what he can do: “He can move and drive… and talk.” It’s an accurate description as we hear Smith telling listeners about his new power wheelchair that can zoom around at 8 miles an hour.

Smith looks tiny and emaciated, but with a deep announcer’s voice he interviews Christopher Reeve, then blows the whistle on Clint Eastwood, Nike and Rush Limbaugh, all guilty of insensitivity to people with disabilities. We soon realize that he is no ordinary 65-pound man. He’s the host of On A Roll Radio who began broadcasting after a disability job discrimination experience in 1992.

By 2000, more than 40 cities air Smith’s program, but without major syndicator support. It’s part of the “institutionalized bigotry” that people with disabilities face regularly, according to Smith’s producer, Mike Ervin. Becky Ogle (former White House Disability Task Force director) and Judy Huemann (The World Bank Disability advisor) tell us about more concerns fueling current disability activism—nursing homes, independence vs. interdependence and the power of the growing disability voting bloc, now at 40 million.

Though Smith believes there’s a difference between disability discrimination and racial discrimination… (keep reading)

On A Roll Again

Disability Pride as ADA turns 25

Who is “The Strength Coach” and what is he about? The book I’m currently reading has forced me to look closely at my brand. I’m a motivational speaker, but what makes me different? What makes me stand out from other speakers? After an extensive process, I have realized that I left out a major part of my identity as I marketed “The Strength Coach.” I left out my disability.

How could I forget? I’ve had muscular dystrophy my whole life. I hosted a syndicated radio show on disability for 14 years!  10 years ago, I decided to branch out and become a mainstream motivational speaker. But the mistake I made was that I left behind the source of my strength:  My disability.

I’m bringing that back!  Nothing changes about the essence of what I do.  I teach people how to turn weaknesses into strengths for increased productivity and profits, leaving them feeling “full-strength swag!”  I just feel like celebrating my disability pride right now, which is fueled by the growing excitement over the 25 year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, coming up in July!

So the podcast, Timeout with the Strength Coach, will present the challenges I face and the way I maneuver them, offering analogies for how anyone can use difficulty for personal gain.  My speeches will include a little more disability pride, using examples of people with disabilities who showed me the way.  And in July, filmmaker Joanne Caputo and I will be offering a free screening of the award-winning PBS documentary film, On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream. This year is the 10th anniversary of the making of one of the most impactful documentaries about disability ever made.

Keep checking onarollmovie.com for updates and articles.  Sponsorship opportunities are available.